This seems to be a very important topic to touch on as it reverberates through so much that impacts Black culture. As many of you are aware, there is an on-going discussion here between @_praxis_ and Khairi. I just wanted to expound on some of my thoughts after reading the piece and reflecting. Many of the thoughts here will be fleshed out in further articles.
There is a well overlooked relationship between male homosexuality and feminism. Although there is a danger in ascribing “feminist” or any political viewpoints to Sappho, the poet, it is in her writing that we find an exuberant, and most importantly, accepted, discussion of what would become known as lesbian affairs. It should immediately be highlighted that the culture of Greece around early 600 BCE(Before Christian Era) was exceptionally homosexual in what might be deemed aggressive due to the ages, and what is termed “pederasty”(think Catholic Church boys being raped by their stewards, Penn State coaches and their charges, and Republican congressman and their aides). This paiderastia was so widespread, that it influenced the Greek culture to further infuse a sexual, as well as romantic, element into its homosociality. That is, as aristocratic men and athletes fell in love with one another, so did the women who were segregated from men in most social life. The class based nature of the homosexual acts would later influence how gender expression was perceived in Western society: men of status would be frowned upon if they had sex with men that were of equal rank, and if the act was of a submissive sort. The homosexual acts of men taking boys was seen as an initiation. It should be noted that the term “paiderastia” is a feminine form, but being defined as “lover of boys.” From here begin to see the embracing of the West a certain distinction of the gender psychic body.
It would be fitting of me as a researcher to also add here that Western culture up to that point was extremely martial and disdainful of feminine forms. From the Aryan practice of burying female babies to their reduction as nurses during times of battle, white women were seen as the weaker, thus less adaptable, sex. Further, men would be rated by this same excruciatingly objective scale as well. We see the patterns of aggressive homosexuality as the white man, the western unit of expansion, escapes the harsher conditions of Northern Europe, what some scholars even see as the prisons of the Caucus Mountains. By the time we arrive at the Hyskos and the establishment of the Greek nations, a homosociality where “eros”, or a romantic notion, has become more accepted between same-sex partners than its opposite. It is actually the norm in these societies for males to have had homosexual interactions before wedding a wife, that for most intents and purposes is just there to procreate and continue to the existence of the society. It should be duly noted by this researcher here as well that the question of “attachment” and “affection” between men and women was posed earlier today in two different social media applications visited by said researcher. There is a history of Western apathetic utilitarian heterosexual bonding. More on that else where.
Bringing these historic developments closer to our present date, it should be understand that the presence of an accepted homosexual culture among men of power and status has always existed among Westerners. It begins to be revealed for one reason or another during the events after September 11, 2001 in New York. If we take a look at the media presentation of Catholic males admitting to being homosexually raped or abused by their authorities in the same patterns prescribed by the paiderastia rituals ,or customs. It needs to be mentioned now that the Roman practice of homosexuality was much more aggressive and tended to be a sign of power, or control, the male hegemonic developed to a cultural norm pressuring slaves to be regarded as prey to male lusts whether male or female. We also can begin to note rape on the battlefield as a form of power transference. Such acts can be seen in today’s military even in “peace keeping” missions such as Uruguayan navy lieutenant, Nicolas Casariego raping a teenager in Haiti. Uruguay, a western nation, and Casariego an officer, or military aristocrat of that nation. We see this imposing of power over the male body, and it is not just the physical body, it is the psychic body. It is the violation, desecration, and in many ways, the murder of the Self: the mental constructs that form our notions of what we are. It is the imperialistic conquering of the mind. It is the height of political usage of the homosexual aggressor. An atavism our good friends from the caves didn’t see fit to leave behind in their so often glorified “evolution.”
It is here that I ask us to go back to Dr. Francis Cress Welsing’s lifelong research of symbolism. It is the phallus that becomes identified as the most appropriate symbol of power. It is the phallic symbol of the obelisk that is appropriated from the thinkers of Kimit and used to worship and harness the energy of George Washington. Washington, being the great general and liberator for the whites here in the US.
We also have to begin to look at the expressions of submissive homosexuality. The military phrase of “cover me” becomes colloquially,”cover my ass.” If the male cannot protect his “ass,” or if it can’t be protected, it is the destruction of his psychic Self. The idea of masculinity is not only attached to the phallus, but ones ability to, well, as the young put it, “not be assed out.” We can start to see how misogyny, homophobia(and not how the media wishes to define that), and hypermasculinity work with one another.
Let’s deal with the concept of homophobia. If we were around and can recall, during the 1990s, Oprah Winfrey began to introduce to her White female audience and her Black female audience the concepts of “homothug,” and “down low brothers.” Black men were bombarded with concerns of Black women believing that their men where homosexuals behind their backs. As an extinction of notions proffered by Shahrazad Ali(remember her?) stating that all men with prison records had been involved homosexually, Oprah pushed the agenda attacking Black men. It should also be noted that during this time, hip hop, well, rap music, had shifted from a socially conscious raising tool to more sensationalistic notions about urban life. These sensationalism tended to pander a brand of misogyny reflective of a defensive homophobia. I pose a distinction between what I see as homophobia, a response to aggressive homosexual assaults on the male psychic body-which actually tends to be more accepting of homosexuals, and the idea of homophobia sold by the media, the idea that heterosexual men are assaulting homosexuals for fear of being homosexual them Selves. A very pronounce nuance there, sure, but one that deserved abstraction.
Whether we accept the currently popular rehashing of Freud’s innate bisexual, or not, we do understand that there are varied expressions of gender. However, it is my observation, that men, especially those in hostile environments, tend towards expressions that are associated with hypermasculinity and machoism. The gender repression, or lack of more diverse expressions, can be associated with the fear of rape. Regardless of my sexual orientation, it tends to go without much argument, I don’t want to be raped. Every rape, whether of a female body or male body, is a destruction of the psychic body with which one may never return whole from. (It is worthy of note that Black women in the United States are stereotypically regarded as taking hypermasculine forms of expression, and historically they have possibly been the ethnic grouping of women most targeted for rape by White men.)
We see in Black male culture, a desperate need to display hypermasculine postures. The expression of hypermasculine aggressiveness expresses it Self among these men as modes of behavior that are to say,”I can’t be fucked,””I’m not a bitch,” “I’m not a punk,” or “I can’t have my masculine self removed.” That is, one’s masculinity, one’s accepted psychic body, cannot be damaged by force without a due consequence, in some places that I’ve studied, that consequence is murder.
The danger of this mode is an obvious damaging of the attributes typically socialized in women. Interestingly enough, however, we see an adoption of typical female forms of socialization in each successive generation of urban Black males since the 60s. When once it was considered overtly homosexual in a submissive or feminine sense for a male to wear earrings in both ears, that style began to be adopted by the more aggressive Black youth. We see the same sort of schema with regard to sagging. When “Monster” Cody, writing in his autobiography, comes home and sees certain brothers wearing their pants low, he reflects that it is a style most associated with homosexuals in prison. It has be written that when I began to see young brothers wearing pink shoelaces and throwing gang signs in St. Louis, I was flabbergasted. When I question the young Blacks that adorn them Selves as such, the answers reflected either sheer conformity, or a response that demonstrated a feeling of impenetrability. “I wear my shit how I like ‘cuss ain’t nobody gone be able to fuck with me anyhow.”
And that statement is a great segue…
Sex as a weapon, or verbally/symbolically abusive device, can also be seen through out our culture as an extension of the fear of rape or misogynistic misrepresentation of masculine aggression. We use the middle finger with the rest of our fingers balled into a fist, an undeniable phallic representation, to suggest,”fuck you.” And this not saying “fuck” in any sort of a romantic or enduring way, right? This is a phrase indicating sexuality in a conquering sort of way. To “fuck” you, in this sense, is to inflict pain in a controlling manner. To find one’s Self in a situation of impending and unavoidable doom is to be “fucked”.
It is telling that the quote from the movie “Training Day,” an analogy comparing the differences of chess from checkers and what for most intents is domestic warfare from friendly interactions becomes so popular. Where checkers is a game that also demands one to think strategically, it chess that fulfills the acting out of the rape, the psychic control and submission through force of another. One has to be check mated. I check you, I check you, and then I mate you. I pin you in a corner, but I don’t kill you. I just control you. I rob you of your ability to do anything but my will.